(Editor's Note: Amaiana Sajjad, a senior at North Plainfield High School, is an intern for TAPinto North Plainfield.)

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Cara Colabelli has been an English teacher at North Plainfield High School (NPHS) for three years and has taught all grades, from the freshman class to the graduating seniors.

“I think high school students are unique in that they are coming into their own and have complex viewpoints on relevant societal issues, but are still impressionable and can be molded in the classroom,” said Colabelli, who is also is currently completing her first season as head coach of NPHS’s girls varsity soccer team.

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The team began practicing over the summer, spending six days a week working on their technical and tactical skills in order to play fast and smart.

“In any sport, winning is as much athletic talent and skill as it is mental toughness,” Colabelli said. “As an individual, when you watch your teammates giving everything they have on the field, you become inspired to do the same. The girls come out each game and play for each other, and it's that unity that allows them to be successful.”

Colabelli graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s in English and psychology and then went on to earn a masters in English education with an endorsement in special education from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. In her free time, Colabelli loves playing soccer and is involved with an adult league. She also enjoys running and is currently training for a marathon.

”Basically anything that helps me to stay fit and active is right up my ally,” Colabelli said. 

“Coach Colabelli brings a renewed spirit to the team, with her positive attitude," said Nikita Forester, a NPHS senior and team co-captain. "She knows when it's time to joke around, and when we need to focus, honing in on the skills she knows we need help with.”

Although the team lost the Oct. 1 county tournament against Montgomery 3-0, Colabelli said the girls played with intensity and passion. “While we ultimately didn't have the result we wanted, that game was a learning experience,” she said. “It showed our team that hard work is what determines success, not winning.”

The team’s hard work was put on display again on Oct. 20 in a 2-0 win against Bound Brook and, as of press time, the NPHS’s girl’s varsity soccer team had a 6-6 record. Their final game of the season will take place Oct. 29 against Franklin.

“The team's main goal is to be better than they were the day before," added Colabelli. "Winning and losing comes secondary to hard work and passion.”

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